Top Tips for a summer spruce up

With the late spring bank holiday just round the corner, RHS Chatsworth Flower show gardeners dig out top tips for a summer spruce-up to get your garden ready in time for a blooming great summer.

Three of this year’s experts at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show (6-10 June) share their top tips for getting the borders blooming as they celebrate one of the busiest weekends in the gardening calendar, Late May Bank Holiday weekend.

Jonathan Moseley, who is creating a spectacular orchid display in the magnificent Great Conservatory, advises:

1. When cutting back decorative Cornus stems use them to create plant supports for annual climbers like Sweet Peas, Cobaea or Morning Glory. The stems are flexible enough to weave into imaginative shapes and the bright coloured bark looks decorative until the climbers begin to establish growth and they then cover the sticks as their natural coloured bark begins to fade.

2. This wet winter has resulted in velvet green moss clothing the surface of flower beds and over pathways. Gather this and store in an airtight container to keep fresh ready for lining hanging baskets.

3. The severity of the winter may have resulted in precious terracotta pots cracking into pieces. Instead of saving the broken pots to make crocks why not create alternative containers for growing succulents like sempervivums or make mini Alpine gardens.

4. When clearing or cutting back vigorous climbers like honeysuckle, jasmine or the dried growth from golden hops save some of this material to place into glass vases or bowls and use it as a form of natural chickenwire into which you can then arrange delicate flowers like Hellebores, Ranunculus or Tulips.

Martin Fish is hosting this year’s lively garden theatre. He suggests:

1. To prepare for the summer months, make sure that rain water butts have been cleaned out to remove green slime and rotten leaves, before they refill with spring showers. It’s also a good idea to wash the inside of watering cans with a little disinfectant.

2. Finish tidying borders to make the garden look fresh and if the soil has been beaten down by rain, lightly loosen it with a fork to improve surface drainage and to help dry out the soil.

3. To prevent grubs damaging the fruits on apples and plums this summer, order pheromone traps now ready to hang in the trees from mid-May onwards.

4. Re-edge lawns with a half-moon edging iron to get a clean, crisp edge ready for the season ahead. To keep your garden looking good through spring and summer, mow little and often and trim the edges.

5. Spruce up your greenhouse, especially under the benches where green algae may have developed over the winter months. Give the glass a good wash as well to allow maximum light to the plants.

Paul Hervey-Brookes will be creating The Brewin Dolphin Installation inspired by a past landscape of the Chatsworth Estate. He said:

1. Be realistic and remove and replace anything you didn’t like last year, maybe it was that garish bright pink geranium, well it’s got to go and someone else will love it!

2. Plant more permanently planted containers, small shrubs and weighty perennials look great in pots and add instant maturity.

3. You would be amazed how good old paving can look cleaned up, so lightly pressure wash to reveal the colour of the stone beneath.

4. Mix up a colour wash for gates and painted wooden sheds/stores. A refresh in more muted tones, which have depth and texture, will set the tone for a relaxed garden full of escapism

The RHS Chatsworth Flower Show will run from June 6 – 10. Tickets to RHS Chatsworth Flower Show can be bought at

Photographs banner: ©Reckless Gardener: gardener photographs: ©RHS